Coach: Show Otago no mercy
Canterbury coach Scott Robertson may be expecting his side to get shaken by an approaching "storm", yet he can't see that as a reason to offer Otago any respite at AMI Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Even though Robertson has made five changes to the side that pumped Bay of Plenty 48-18 last week, he has still named 16 men in his match-day 22 who have experienced Super Rugby for this national provincial championship match.
Those are the sort of numbers that Otago coach Tony Brown and his cash-strapped union can only wish for.
Given that Otago have experienced two deflating losses to Tasman and Hawke's Bay since holding the Ranfurly Shield for just nine days, Robertson probably could have rested more players from his unbeaten side before they play Wellington, Manawatu and Auckland in the space of eight days.
Captain George Whitelock, who motored through a heap of work for the Crusaders, starts again at No 6 and Jordan Taufua is listed at No 8. Matt Todd's call-up to the All Blacks means Jed Brown gets his first start at openside flanker.
This means younger brother Luke, who has just returned from the All Blacks camp, is left on the bench - a luxury Brown can only dream of.
"We were keen to not make too many changes and with the way Jordan has gone, he probably deserves that chance," Robertson said.
"And with there being a 'storm' as we call it, with three games next week in a row he (Luke Whitelock) will have ample game-time. We just believe it was the right thing for this week."
Whitelock's late arrival back to Christchurch on Tuesday night also meant Robertson was reluctant to shift Taufua.
The rib injury Tom Taylor collected in his All Blacks debut against the Wallabies on August 24 has healed and he has been named at fullback.
Ex-All Black hooker Corey Flynn is back from his knee injury and listed in the reserves alongside Johnny McNicholl who hasn't played since breaking his ankle in April.
No 8 Nasi Manu will play for Metro this weekend and playmaker Colin Slade has remained with the All Blacks as cover.
Canterbury: Tom Taylor, Patrick Osborne, Adam Whitelock, Ryan Crotty, Milford Keresoma, Tyler Bleyendaal, Willi Heinz, Jordan Taufua, Jed Brown, George Whitelock (c), Matt Symons, Luke Katene, Nepo Laulala, Ben Funnell, Joe Moody. Reserves: Corey Flynn, Paea Fa'anunu, Joel Everson, Luke Whitelock, Andy Ellis, Rob Thompson, Johnny McNicholl.
Otago: Peter Breen, Matt Faddes, Kieran Moffat, Jayden Spence, Fa'asiu Fuatai, Hayden Parker, Fumiaki Tanaka, Paul Grant (captain), Hugh Blake, Gareth Evans, Tom Franklin, Tom Donnelly, Scott Manson, Liam Coltman, Craig Millar. Reserves: Sam Anderson-Heather, Tama Tuirirangi, Charlie O'Connell, TJ Ioane, Willis Scott, Josh Renton, Michael Collins.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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